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4 comments

American Car, Nigerian Scam

Posted September 12, 2012 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: Hemmings Classic Wheels scams

If it looks too good to be true, run. You can't even trust a bank check
By Marc Gottlieb, DDS

Occasionally, one of life's realities sinks in or another unexpected expense pops up. This time my daughter's college tuition was due and I had to sell one of my cars. Which one to sacrifice? After several sleepless nights, I decided to part with my 1966 Dodge Dart GT Convertible and place a classified ad for it online.

I thought my pitch was well written: "For sale by owner. 1966 Dodge Dart GT convertible with only 49,000 original pampered miles. Originally purchased in Boise, Idaho, from a little old lady who only drove the car to the supermarket and back. Well equipped with Commando V-8 engine, bucket seats and center console. Near survivor status with one repaint. My daughter's college tuition forces immediate sale. $18,000. Please call or send me an e-mail if you need additional information."

I just sat back, kicked up my feet and waited for the phone to ring. Almost immediately, I heard that familiar ding on my cell phone along with the announcement, "You have mail." There was a note from John Smith. He was representing a client who lived in Australia and just happened to be looking for that exact car. His client was willing to pay to have it shipped but needed to know what it would cost before he could authorize the purchase. I called around and found a transporter that would do the job for $2,500. John wrote back that the price seemed fair and he would be sending me a bank check via Federal Express to cover the asking price, plus shipping. I agreed to pull the ad and sell him the car. His next email requested I contact him immediately after I received the check. Wow, was I excited! I sold my car for the full asking price and the check was in the mail. While I was boasting about the sale to my wife, she just laughed and said, "How naive are you?" Was I really being naive? After a quick Google search for car scams, it became obvious that I was likely getting suckered into a variation of the classic Nigerian scam.

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Guru

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Wolfe Island, ON
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#1

Re: American Car, Nigerian Scam

09/12/2012 10:58 PM

It is referred to as a 419 scam. 519 is the Nigerian criminal code section dealing with theft. In fact there is a novel called "419" by Will Ferguson. a good read and informative about these Nigerian based scams. Check it out if you get a chance.

My son and friends would play these scams back. Make the scammer wear funny clothes, take pictures of himself and a dated paper to confirm the scammers authenticity. Then they would repeat the process just in case. They were messing with some nasty people but they did get pictures.

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Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South of Minot North Dakota
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#2
In reply to #1

Re: American Car, Nigerian Scam

09/12/2012 11:20 PM

I thought something was suspicious when he mentioned selling his stuff to pay for his daughters education.

If he really wanted her to get a good life long education he would have told her to start working and filling out loan applications. Thats what I did for both of my college experiences. Mom and pop didn't shell out a dime for me to learn about how life works.

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Guru

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Wolfe Island, ON
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#3
In reply to #2

Re: American Car, Nigerian Scam

09/12/2012 11:41 PM

In Canada we have a tax shelter that we could use to put aside money for education. You can put a maximum of $2000/year but the gov't (us tax payer suckers) would top up the fund by a $400/yr grant. So you get an instant 20% return. The catch was that the money could only be used for education. It is a great way for a parent to save for the kids futures. We put 3 kids through university for their first degrees. They did run out of funds by the 4th year and had to work to earn enough to survive. Two are still working and going to school and may finish when they get gray hair. They pay they way fully after tax shelter money ran out. It did take some discipline to set aside the full amount to max the returns.

That was not the case when I went to school. There were nine of us young ones and most of us went to college but we paid full price. Parents were too cash poor to spend it but I suspect they would have found funds if we asked. No one would ask though. We did not waste much and turned lights off when we left a room...etc.

I would not judge the parent's motive for helping. Having a surplus car may be a luxury he thought he could do without for a higher cause.

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#4

Re: American Car, Nigerian Scam

09/13/2012 8:49 AM

My wife put a Panasonic PVGS-320 camera up for sale on Craig's list for $300. The buyer said they were in Nevada. He would pay for all the shipping, of course, and asked if he could pay through Pay-Pal. I told my wife to request a US postal money order from him, as I suspected a scam from the begining. He agreed and said he would include $100 for shipping, and could we please ship it to his pastor in Nigeria. Soon after that, my wife received a bogus email stating the money was deposited via US postal money order in an online account, and we had to give our bank info to receive it. My wife was a little niave because she wanted to make a sale, but finally saw the light.

BTW, anyone want to buy a camera? It's still available!

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